Narrowing down the list of famous law enforcement leaders to the 5 most influential people in law enforcement history is difficult. Many people have influenced law enforcement around the world since the ancient Egyptian and Greek societies. The following men, however, may be 5 of the most recognizably influential people from the recent law enforcement history of the United States:
Eugene Biscailuz: As the 27th Sherriff of Los Angeles County in 1932, Biscailuz was instrumental in a variety of revolutionary changes in California law enforcement that were influential around the nation. He founded the California Highway Patrol among other things.
Bill Bratton: This former New York City Police Commissioner oversaw huge reductions in crime rates in New York City in the 1990s, which many people say Rudi Giuliani took credit for before firing him. Bratton, also a former Boston Police Commissioner, went on to serve as the chief of police for the Los Angeles County Police Department before retiring in 2009.
Daryl Gates: As the Chief of the Los Angeles County Police Department from 1978 to 1992 he was instrumental in a number of important changes such as the founding of DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics). He also oversaw the LAPD during a tumultuous time for race relations, especially following the Rodney King incident of 1991.
Theodore Roosevelt: Although most famous as the 26th president of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt was also the president of the New York City Police Commissioners from 1895 to 1897. He turned around a corrupt police force by establishing new disciplinary rules, creating a bicycle squad to tackle traffic problems, standardizing officers’ pistol use, implementing firearm inspections and physical exams and hiring 1,600 new recruits based solely on physical and mental qualifications.
August Vollmer: Known as a leading figure in the development of the United States criminal justice field, Vollmer got his start as the first chief of police of Berkeley, California. After a long career he was appointed president of the International Association of Police Chiefs in 1921.